KEY POINTS

  • Scientists believe that the saw-scaled viper is responsible for the majority of human deaths resulting from snake bites
  • The king cobra's venom can kill an elephant within hours
  • Black mambas are known for their speed as well as their lethal venom that can kill most humans

It's World Snake Day. The day was created to raise awareness regarding the 3,500 different species of snake that exist across the globe. 

Snakes are some of the most misunderstood animals in the world. Contrary to popular belief, many of these creatures are not actually dangerous or venomous like people assume.

Some snakes, however, are notorious for a reason. Read on to learn about some of the deadliest, most venomous snakes in the world, courtesy of Britannica and Safaris Africana.

Saw Scaled Viper

Found in India and the Middle East, this snake is believed to be responsible for the majority of human deaths caused by snake bites each year. Although the saw-scaled viper's venom is deadly in less than 10% of untreated victims, the snake is often found in populated areas, thus it has more opportunities to inject its poison into humans.

Boomslang

A native of sub-Saharan Africa, the boomslang is a venomous snake measuring up to 1.6 meters. It is characterized by an egg-shaped head and its venom, which affects blood coagulation, causing internal or external bleeding that may lead to the victim's death.

The boomslang injects its venom with the use of its large fangs and a jaw that can open 170 degrees when biting.

Banded Krait

The banded krait can be found in the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia. A close relative of the cobra, the krait can easily be distinguished by its black and bright yellow crossbands and marked vertebral ridge.

Banded kraits do not actively go and bite humans as they are known to be shy nocturnal animals. One bite from this snake, however, can cause respiratory failure and suffocation.

Barba Amarilla

This venomous snake is notorious for its unpredictability. Its venom is extremely painful, necrotizing and often fatal. Barba amarilla, which is Spanish for "yellow beard," is characterized by a flattened head that is set apart from the rest of its body.

Barba amarillas are irritable and fast-moving, according to Safaris Africana.

Black Mamba

Known for its incredible speed, the black mamba is often regarded as one of the fastest snakes in the world. It is large in size and ranges in color from gray to dark brown. Also aggressive by nature, the black mamba's extremely potent venom kills most humans, making it one of the most feared snakes in the wild.

snake-1974382_1920 Representation. Photo: Peka, Pixabay

King Cobra

The king cobra is the world's longest venomous snake, according to Britannica. What makes it terrifying is its highly deadly venom. One bite from the king cobra can kill a creature as large as an elephant within hours. Death also follows about 50% to 60% of untreated human cases.

Coastal Taipan

A cousin of the inland taipan, the coastal taipan is native to the coastal regions of northern and eastern Australia. Similar to the black mamba, this snake is characterized by a long and narrow head and a body that is colored from light olive to black.

The coastal taipan attacks its prey by freezing before rapidly throwing itself forward and biting its victim several times -- after which it waits for its venom to take effect before eating its meal.

Eastern Brown Snake

This solitary snake is usually found in dense forests. Considered the world's second most venomous snake, the eastern brown snake coils to an "S" shape when attacking its prey. Its venom targets the circulatory system, resulting in cardiovascular collapse and cardiac arrests.

Inland Taipan

Known for its nickname "the fierce snake," the inland taipan is the world's most venomous snake. Its venom is a witch's brew of neurotoxins, procoagulants and myotoxins -- all causing paralysis to muscles and inhibits breathing in the victim's body.

"It can kill someone within maybe 45 minutes. There have been reports of people experiencing effects of venom within half an hour as well," according to Australian Reptile Park's head keeper of reptiles and spiders Julie Mendezona.

Red Bellied Black Snake A Red-bellied Black Snake showing its tongue. Photo: GETTY IMAGES